The Art of Age

When do you have to stop dancing? With 35 as a professional? With 45 as an amateur? Sadler’s Wells’ Elixir Festival showed that there is no sell-by date for dance.

From 12 to 15 September, Sadler’s Wells celebrated lifelong creativity and the contribution of older artists in the Elixir Festival – a vibrant event including performances, workshops and the ‘Art of Age’ conference.

Celebrating Lifelong Creativity

AWL8239Contributing artists included world-renowned choreographer Mats Ek performing alongside Ana Laguna and Dominique Mercy in a new piece directed by Pascal Merighi, and Sadler’s Wells’ Company of Elders performing the choreography of Associate Artist Hofesh Shechter.

Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion took a rare break from their renowned duets to invite a group of ex-professional dancers out of retirement and back onto the stage. With the help of former artists of London Contemporary Dance Theatre, The Royal Ballet, Second Stride and the Siobhan Davies Dance Company, the two men created a hopeful and irreverent picture of the body as an archive of rooms, steps and forgotten stories, revealing the power of physical memory in the face of the most transitory of art forms.

The festival also showcased a range of UK and international companies presenting dance that reflects the diversity of approach and wide interest in performance work from mature artists.

More information can be found on the Elixir Project Blog at:

The Art of Age Conference

As demographics change, it’s important to re-asses what it means to be ‘old’ and to acknowledge that people of the ‘third age’ can not only continue to live active lives, but also have an enormous contribution to make: a lifetime of experience to illuminate artistic practice. The conference explored the changing views on age, ageing and elders in society and dance.

In four sessions, speakers from NGOs, academia and culture explored the benefits and challenges of lifelong creativity on personal health, on the society and on artistic creation. Experiences from different contexts, continents and cultural backgrounds were discussed. Presentations by the Company of Elders and the Laban Movement Choir illustrated the importance of movement and the beauty of non-standardised artists on stage.

Speakers included:

  • Age UK; Emma Spragg and Jane Chambers
  • Professor Stephen Harridge, Professor of Human and Applied Physiology at King’s College London
  • Sheila Dickie, Company of Elders
  • Kiki Gale, English National Ballet and Dr. Sara Houston, Roehampton University (Dance for Parkinsons)
  • Diane Amans, Artist amd Author
  • Clare Guss-West B. Hum, M.A. RAD RTS, Practitioner in Dance and Holistic HealthMark Edward, Senior Lecturer in Performance, Edge Hill University
  • ‘H’ Patten, Dancer and Choreographer
  • Chitra Sundaram, Dance Theatre Artist
  • Christopher Bannerman, Kenneth Tharp, Anne Donnelly and Brian Bertscher Pascal Merighi and Dominique Mercy

More information and contact:

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